IT was a strange ride back home one Sunday. The daughters were furious and so was their father; me. Something had happened that we all felt was unfair. “I’ve been insulted,” said my eldest. “It’s not fair,” said my younger one. “I’m going to blast those people tomorrow,” I said to myself.
Only their mother, my wife, was strangely quiet and slowly said, “maybe if we found out more, we may be surprised it’s not as bad as it seems to be.” Nobody listened as we were all absolutely convinced we were right.
I didn’t sleep well that night nor did I feel good the next day, and laughed only when I read this lovely story I am going to reproduce below: One fine day, a bus driver drove along his route. At one stop, a big hulk of a guy got on. Six feet eight, built like a wrestler, arms hanging down to the ground. He glared at the driver and said, “Big John doesn’t pay!” and sat down at the back.
The next day the same thing happened – Big John got on again, made a show of refusing to pay, and sat down. And the next day, and the one after that, and so forth. This grated on the bus driver, who started losing sleep over the way Big John was taking advantage of him. Finally he could no longer stand it. He signed up for body building courses, karate, judo, and all that good stuff. By the end of the summer, he had become quite strong; what’s more, he felt ready to take on Big John.
So on the next Monday, when Big John once again got on the bus and said, “Big John doesn’t pay!,” the driver stood up, glared back at the passenger, and screamed, “And why not?” With a surprised look on his face, Big John replied, “Big John has a bus pass.” How like the driver we are.
We think every statement is an insult. We look at ourselves and instead of seeing in ourselves a good person like the driver doing a good job, we feel everybody around is six feet tall and taking advantage. We scowl at our neighbour. Yell at colleagues and think the world laughs at us. We grit our teeth, learn karate, buy a bigger car, a larger house, and still wonder why they laugh. “What’s so funny?” we finally ask. “Nothing,” they say puzzled. “Then why are you laughing at me?”
“But we’re not laughing at you, we’re smiling at a good clean happy day!” Moral of this piece: Be sure there is a problem in the first place before working hard to solve one. And about the problem, we were all furious about: It was also much ado about more or less nothing..!